Notes From Cali

Posted Sep 10, 2003
Last Updated Oct 31, 2011

One of the stranger aspects of northern Californian society is the skewed perception of what a "sport” actually is. When I move to a new place, or get introduced to a new crowd I generally ask if anyone likes to play ball. No translation was ever needed because everyone knows that ball means the greatest sport ever invented, or basketball.

NOTE: I believe James A. Naismith was visited by aliens and given the idea for basketball. Notice that since it’s advent, the American Athlete has become longer and leaner and more able to defy the governing parameters of the known universe. This gift was obviously for the soul purpose of helping us evolve into a more complex being, resembling those aliens who often visit trailer parks and love messing up Uncle Jeb’s corn field. But that’s just my idea.


In this area when I ask if anyone plays ball I get a strange look and they say, "Ball?” At first I thought that they needed a translation because this town has two baseball teams, two football teams and a basketball team, so maybe they are in tune with all forms ball-centric sports. When I say "basketball” people look at me like I’ve just asked them to come over and watch my Uncensored Season 2 Jerry Springer DVD. Apparently, basketball is not a highly regarded sport. I have found one other Midwest implant who enjoys the hoops, and for that reason I will refer to him as THE SECOND COOLEST GUY IN CALIFORNIA.

Now in my time in this town I have learned that two sports will help you garner instant acceptance with the people. Kayaking and Rock Climbing, or as I refer to them, TWO OF THE DUMBEST THINGS A HUMAN BEING CAN DO. After that there is a cluster of sports: Mountain Biking, Skiing, and some other dumb ways to work up a sweat. Basketball is definitely in the lowest realm of sports. Kind of like what Ohioans thought of soccer before the Crew came to town and everyone realized "Dude, chicks dig soccer players.”

Last weekend I went Sea Kayaking. It was a fun way to enjoy the scenery and my arms did get a light workout, but other than that I felt no signs of actually having done something that resembled a sport. It was cool when a seal would pop up by the kayak, but even they looked at me as if to say, "Dude, what are you doing out here? Don’t you realize how stupid you look paddling around on that plastic turd?” Still, it was enjoyable, and I’ll do it again. I’ll take a camera, snap some pictures, and enjoy some quality time with the blonde, but in no way is this an activity that could be construed as a sport.

Now what really sucks is when the real Kayakers look at me with that superior air and say, "Now didn’t that feel great, aren’t you sore from that great workout.” I’m thinking, "Play my sport chump. See if you have that look on your face when I swat your broke jumper into next week. See how you like the work out of me pounding you in the post. See how sore you are after I sprain your ankles with my wicked crossover,” but I didn’t actually say that.

After some time I realized that sport, like everything else, is a reflection on the rest of your life. Kayaking is a solitary activity. No competition, no bonding, no measure for improvement. You’re out there in the water paddling in silence. If this reflects your life, well… you suck. I’ve never rock climbed, but it seems only slightly different. You do have a goal – getting to the top of the mountain, so in life maybe you are goal oriented. You like to achieve things. However, there is nothing in your way except your own ability. You either get to the top of the mountain, or you wait until an emergency helicopter comes and picks you up. No interaction with people, no one getting in your way. So in life I guess you like to go about your business with no people and no obstacles. Just get out of my way while I do this thing.

Now basketball is the perfect sport. I’m not saying this, Carl Sagan did. So go ahead, argue with Carl Sagan. I bet you’re as smart as he is. It mixes strength and speed, power and agility, aggression and finesse. Individual skill used to accomplish a team goal. And so I realize that these people look at me with scorn because they fear what they can’t comprehend. I am above them, on a higher plane of existence because I play the perfect sport and am on my way to being the perfect being.

Keep it Real.

Notes From Cali

A collection of often unorganized yet always stimulating thoughts by California-based screenwriter Chris Webb.

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